The dishes I enjoy the most preparing, are the ones I can have ready on the table in less than an hour. Sopa Criolla (“Creolle soup“) is one of those. In Peru we love to have it for lunch, but it is especially good and comforting for dinner, as it is fulfilling and flavorful, but light at the same time. What gives so much flavor to the broth is the kind of chili used (aji panca). If you choose not to use it because you don’t have the ingredient at hand or you simply want to try something different, don’t worry. The soup will be just as delicious; the only thing missing will be its particular Peruvian taste.
Traditional cooks will tell you that tomato paste is not part of this recipe, but we think it goes very well with the other ingredients, and it adds and extra layer of taste and color. That brick red color so characteristic of this soup is normally given by the aji panca, but you can substitute it with the tomato paste, or use both for an even more intense red.
The easiest way of making this dish is using ground beef, but minced beef is great too if you have the time and the energy to mince a piece of beef in very little dices. The idea is to have a steaming bowl of soup as quickly as possible, and that is the reason behind using ground beef instead. It really is up to you. Milk is another ingredient you can add or leave out. Once the milk is incorporated, do not let it boil because the soup will curdle and everything will be ruined. That is the last thing you want when you’re hungry!
Try this delicious Sopa Criolla on a cold and cloudy fall or winter night. It may become a staple of your kitchen for this season.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ chopped onion
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons ají panca paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound ground beef
- 4 cups beef stock, or water
- 4 ounces angel hair pasta
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 4 slices white bread
- 4 eggs
- 4 parsley sprigs
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add and sauté onion, garlic, and ají panca, stirring for 5 minutes. Add oregano and tomato paste, stir, add ground meat, cook until brown, and then add 4 cups boiling stock or water. Put the lid on, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add angel hair and cook for 3 minutes or until al dente. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, and incorporate the milk.
- In a skillet with a little oil over medium heat, fry the bread slices turning to brown both sides. Transfer to a plate covered with paper towels. Then fry the eggs one by one, seasoning with salt.
- Serve the soup in bowls, top with a fried bread slice, and a fried egg on top of the bread. Garnish with a parsley sprig and serve immediately.